SEP8 budding teenage entrepreneurs have been selected to represent Kilkenny at the Student Enterprise Programme National Finals in Croke Park. The young entrepreneurs will represent their Local Enterprise Office and their county at the Student Enterprise Programme showpiece on the 2nd May in Croke Park.

The students were all competing at the County Kilkenny Final which was held at the Newpark Hotel on Wednesday 7th March as part of Local Enterprise Week. It was a great achievement for approximately 100 students reaching the finals stage of the competition from 12 secondary schools across the County, from a total of 644 students who had participated in the programme this academic year.

The judges had a very difficult task and had to take numerous factors into account, such as business reporting, innovation, market research, risk management and finances. After much deliberation they finally decided on the projects that would go forward to represent Kilkenny at the Student Enterprise Programme National Final in Croke Park on May 2nd. Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny, the competition is the most successful programme of its kind in the country.

In the senior category the winners were Colm Dunne and Conor McCarthy, students from CBS Kilkenny with their project KAT Food; a compilation of healthy, easy recipes from our favourite hurling and camogie stars. Edward Daly, John O'Brien, Matthew O'Sullivan also from the CBS Kilkenny will represent Kilkenny in the Intermediate category with their innovative business Lift Arm Assist which makes the lives of farmers easier and safer. They were also awarded the Science & Technology which is sponsored by Institute of Technology, Carlow as the judges were very impressed with the innovative design and the solution the product was solving in the marketplace. In the Junior category the winners were announced as Jack O'Shea, Jim Power and Nathan Ryan with their business Hot Chills Ltd from Coláiste Eamann Rís Callan with the hot chocolate products.


Runners up in the Senior Category were “Simple Solutions” run by Emma Brannigan, Kate Cullen, Aoife Cahalan students from Castlecomer Community School who had developed a suite revision books for Junior Certificate Examinations. Third prize went to an innovative product “Tots to Do” from Grennan College - a children's book full of recipes, art and nursery rhymes with a linked website feature. The Best Branding Award sponsored by the ThreeSixty was also awarded to this project lead by Sam Gleeson and Tamar Stone.

A number of other special category awards were presented at the County Final event. The Most Innovative Product was presented to “Shard’’ from CBS Kilkenny with their wood and resin necklaces. “The Secret” from the Kilkenny City Vocational School won the Best Display Award; while “Caca Milis” scooped a prize for the Best Report. “Bake and Create” won the Best Teamwork Award, while the Social Media Award was presented to ‘Glam Glitteritz’ both teams from Loreto Secondary School.

A skilled craftsperson Peter Tyrrell from Coláiste Eamann Rís was award the Best Craft Product for his wooden canes. “Grennan Slime” from Grennan College scooped the Best Idea Concept Award. The Eco-friendly Award was presented to “Brigid’s Web” from St. Brigid’s College, Callan while Christmas Carpentry from Castlecomer Community School were awarded for their skills. The overall school prize was split between Grennan College and Castlecomer Community School at the award ceremony.

Special guests at the County Final included Cathaoirleach Cllr David Fitzgerald, Mayor Michael Doyle, Cllr Maurice Shortall, Cllr John Brennan, Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick, Cllr Andrew McGuinness, Martin Prendiville, Head of Finance, Kilkenny County Council; County Enterprise Award Recipient Eoin Treacy, the Sponsors Mark Rodgers from IT Carlow and the judging panel.

At the presentation ceremony, Cathlaoirach Cllr. David Fitzgerald, Kilkenny County Council congratulate the efforts of the students involved saying “the Student Enterprise Programme is all about helping to develop entrepreneurial talent, so that you the student may at some point in the future use the experience you gained in participating in this Programme to at least think about setting up your own business”.

The success of the Student Enterprise Programme is down to the entrepreneurial spirit of the students involved and the Head of Enterprise Fiona Deegan of Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny was quick to praise this year’s entrants. Every year we are blown away by the ideas and the business savvy that these students have acquired at such a young age. They really are a credit to their teachers and school staff who have helped to nurture this talent. The Student Enterprise Programme is growing appeal every year and we hope to see many of these excellent young students coming through the door of their local LEO in the years to come. We wish todays winners all the very best as they go on to represent their county at the National Finals in Croke Park in May.”

The three category winners Kat Food, Lift Arm Assist and Hot Chills Ltd will now prepare for the National Finals which will be held on Wednesday 2nd May in Croke Park – a venue that Kilkenny people are no strangers too and are noted for achieving success there.